12 Feb 2013: ICT-1 Daily Summary – Chowdhury Direct and Cross-Examination of PW 19

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Chief Prosecutor vs Mobarak Hossain: Report on Investigation and Date for Submission of Formal Charges (Accused Present)
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs Abdus Sobhan  (Accused Not Present)
  3. Chief Prosecutor vs Salauddin Quader Chowdhury (Accused Present)

The Prosecution requested an additional seven days before submitting their Formal Charge against Mubarak Hossain. The Tribunal allowed their prayer and fixed February 25, 2013 for submitting the Formal Charge and extended the bail period till February 25, 2013.

On February 11, 2013 Tribunal heard an application filed by Abdur Razzaq requesting that law enforcement cease harassing Motiur Rahman Akond, Defense Counsel for Abdus Sobhan. Today the Tribunal passed an order directing the law enforcement agencies not to harass Motiur Rahman Akond.

Today, Wahidul Alam Junu, prosecution witness 19 in the Salauddin Quader Chowdhury case, concluded placing his testimony and Defense counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena concluded his cross-examination. Thereafter, Tribunal adjourned the proceedings till February 14, 2013.  

Chief Prosecutor vs. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury

Today prosecution witness 19,  Wahidul Alam Junu, provided testimony in the Chowdhury case. Both his direct and cross-examination was concluded today. Junu is an alleged victim of the Liberation War.

Junu identified himself before the Tribunal and said that he is employed as a regular singer on Chittagong Betar (Radio); that his is 59 years old, and that he currently lives in Azimpur (Vujpur), Chittagong.

Prosecution’s Examination in Chief
During the examination-in-chief Wahidul Alam Junu stated that during the Liberation War in 1971 he was 17 years old and was a student of class 9 in Chittagong Municipal Model High School. He stated that on March 25, 1971 at about 1 am he heard  someone announcing on a handheld microphone that the Pakistani Army was killing Bengali Police officers in Razarbagh Police Line and at the UPR camp in Pilkhana. The person announcing this was encouraging those listening to fight in the name of Bongobondhu (Seikh Mojibur Rahman, the leader of the independence movement). Junu stated that having heard this he came out from home and started to shout slogans with his friends in the roads. Junu said that the OC of Kotoali Thana then arrested him and detained him for the whole night the Police Station. He said he was released the next morning at about 8 am.

Thereafter he stated that he went to Dakhbanglo located at Station Road and found Awami League leader M.A Mannan, NAP leader Moin Uddin Badol, Jafor and other Awami League activists there. Junu said that he himself and others used to supply food from the Station Road Dakhbanglo to the East Bengal Regiment. He said that he left the Dakhbanglo for his village home in Fatikhsori on March 28 with Awami League activist Mannan and others.

Junu said after some months he come back to Chittagong and took Guerrilla training from freedom fighter Siddik in Hajaree Lane. He said that Sirajul Islam and Nizam Uddin Ahmed joined with them in the training. He further said that they monitored the movement of the Pakistani Army. Junu said on July 5, 1971 they (Junu, Nizam and Sirazul Islam) detached from their trainer Siddik. In the evening of that day at about 7:30 they heard the sound of a motor vehicle in front of their place at Hajaree Lane, and within couple minutes some members of the Pakistani Army and some local Bengali people entered and began shouting at them. Junu said they tied their hands and blindfolded them while they searched the place Then they took them in a red jeep to the house of Fozlul Quader Chowdhury, located at Chittagong near Goni bakery – a point now known as ‘Goods Heel.’ Junu said that they were taken to the drawing room of Fozlul Quader Chowdhury and that Fozlul Quader Chowdhury was sitting there. He said that Fozlul Quader Chowdhury stood up seeing them and shouted epithets towards them in their Bengali.

Junu said that he himself was beaten by the persons of the ‘Raiding Party’ who brought them there. He further said that they saw Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and his younger brother standing behind the sofa while they were beaten. He said due to the beating he lost one of his teeth and experienced severe pain and bleeding. He said that after a while Fozlul Quader Chowdhury left the drawing room and the raiding party took Sirazul Islam and Nizam Uddin Ahmed to another room  inside the house He stated that Salauddin Quader Chowdhury followed them while Junu was in the drawing room. Junnu said he heard the screaming of Sirazul Islam and Nizam Uddin Ahmed from the drawing room.

Junu further said that members of the Pakistan Intelligence Group then appeared in plain clothes and asked them different questions. He said he was beaten them till 12 or 1 am and after 1 am that they were taken to the garage of Fozlul Quader Chowdhury and hanged there so that they could not sit. He said in the evening of the next day they were given Kheer (made by milk) and bread and that before then they did not receive any food. He further said that Nizam Uddin Ahmed told him that this may be our last dinner and because he was afraid he could eat only a very little portion of the food.

Junu said that at about 7 or 7:30 in the morning they were handed over to the Pakistani Army who then took them to the Chittagong Stadium by a motor vehicle. Junu said they were detained in the Chittagong Stadium until July 13, 1971. He stated that they were against tortured there. Junu said they were asked their names and addresses. He stated he was questioned by a Major of the Belush regiment and that when the major heard Junu’s full name he asked him whether he was part of the Syed family. In answer Junu said his predecessor came from Arabia. Therefore the Major separated him from other detainees. The other detainees were sent to the cantonment but he was not. Junu testified he was given a cup of tea and allowed to leave the place.

He returned to his village home and after some days heard that Shirazul Islam and Nizam had been sent to jail after being tortured in Chittagong Cantonment. Junu said that after staying in his village of Fatiksori 20 or 25 days he went back to Chittagong and joined the Liberation War. He stated his duty was to monitor the movement of Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams. He said that from his friends and others he came to know that in Fozlul Quader Chowdhury’s house there was a camp of Al-Shams and Al-Badr under the leadership of Khoka, Jahangir, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, and Syed Oahidul Alam. He further said that he came to know that the members of this Al-Shams and Al-Badr unit committed atrocities, looting and killing in the Hindu area Nondon Kanon. He said that on 1 July 2011 he gave his statement to the Investigation Officers and identified Salauddin Quader Chowdhury in the dock.

The Defense then Conducted the Cross Examination of PW 19
Ahsanul Huq Hena, Defense Counsel for Salauddin Qader Chowdhury, began the cross-examination. Junu stated that he had not yet gone to Shabag (the location of a current major protest where activists are calling for the death penalty against Qader Molla, who was sentenced to life in prisonment, and other alleged war criminals), but that he wished to go there after the conclusion of his testimony. Junu denied he was arrested on March 25, 1971 and only released after the Liberation War. Junu stated that Siddik was killed by Razakars but admitted that he cannot provide the date or time of his killing. He admitted that he does not know the name of Siddik’s father but confirmed that he was from Dhaka. He said that it was not true that Siddik was a Razakar and now living in Pakistan.

Azmi reiterated that due to the beatings he suffered he lost one of his teeth and one of his hip bones was fractured. However he admitted he never had it X-rayed. He said that he took treatment from a ‘Kobiraj’ (physician who has no formal educational qualification) of Fatikhsori and cannot remember his name. He said that he did not file any case as a victim of torture since there was no environment in which to file a case. He further said that there was no government in support of Liberation War, though he admitted that from 1972 to 1975 and from 1976 to 2001 the current ruling party (Awami League) was in power and were in support of the Liberation War. He admitted that he is not sure whether his name is in the list of freedom fighters of the Chittagong DC office or not.

Junu said that beside the north side of the Station Road Dakhbanglo there were shops. He admitted that he had a National ID card but claimed he left it at the Witness Safe House. He stated that on February 3, 2013 he came to Dhaka and stayed at the Safe House for 2 or 3 days. He admitted that he does not remember the address of the house where he took shelter. He admitted that most of the Hindus lived on Hazari Lane. He said that in 1971 Johur Ahmed Chowdhury and M R Siddique did not reside in the Station Road Dakhbanglo but claimed that on March 27, 1971 they went to the Dakhbanglo and stayed there only for an hour.

Junu stated that he does not know whether in April there was any camp in Hathazari. He said that there were check post on his way to home but he was not checked. He acknowledged that on March 30, 1971 the Pakistani Army took control of Chittagong and from Chittagong to Hathazari all vehicles used the road except during curfew periods when only army vehicle were allowed to use the road. He admitted that he cannot remember whether there was any Army Camp in Hathazai or not. He said that on March 27 or 28, 1971 in front of Borua Para, Janalihat Station Eight Bangle Regiment and Pangub Regiment engaged into a face to face war, where a lots of soilders of Pangub Regiment were killed.

After the lunch break Salauddin Qader Chowdhury himself started to cross-examine PW-19. Junu said that it is not true that on March 25 in front of a Rifles Club OC arrested him along with another Bihari woman. He said that Major Ziaur Rahman was the commanding officer of Eighth Bangle Regiment. He said that it was not true that the main office of the Eight Bangle Regiment was in Sholo Shohor but acknowledged there was a bunker there. He denied that on March 26, Major Zia came out from Sholo Shohor East Bangle Centre. He admitted that there was a monument in Sholo Shohor and said that this is because there was a bunker of W Trange of the Eight Bangle Regiment. He denied that the attack of the Eight Bangle Regiment started from Sholo Shohor.

Junu said that Major Zia was the commanding officer of the Eight Bangle Regiment and before that Colonel Jungjua was the commanding officer. He denied that from March 27 to April 13 from Sholo Shohor Gate-2 to Hathazari general people did not use this road. He denied that from March 27 to April 13 Chittagong University was completely detached from Chittagong city. Junu admitted that from Chittagong University to Oxygen the only available route was through Cantonment Gate-2. He admitted that there was not any building or institution by the name of Dakhbanglo. Junu said that from March 26 to 28, there was no Awami League office in Station Road, however, there an office for all of the parties. Junu stated that there was a rest house on Station Road which was known as Dakhbanglo.

Junu said that that from March 26 to 28 MP Fozlul Huq, MA Mozid brother of MP MA Aziz, MP Akhtaruzzaman Babu, Ataur Rahman Kaiser, MP Nurul Islam, MP Mirza Abu Monsur, MP Abdullah Al Harun, Sultan Ahmed Kusumpuri, Advocate Mostafizur Rahman Chowdhury, MA Hannan, and MP Abu Saleh were not residing in the Dakhbanglo permanently but regularly went there. He acknowledged that they did not go there after March 28. He denied that he was not blindfolded while boarding on the motor vehicle and denied that he made up the story of being abducted. He stated that in the drawing room of Fozlul Quader Chowdhury, where they were taken, there were 5 doors including the main gate, where two doors were in the south side and one was in the west side of the room and a small door just beside the main door. He said that the drawing room was about 12 feet x 16 feet. He said that on the north side of the room there was a big curtain. He said that Fozlul Quader Chowdhury was sitting on the East side facing West.

Junu acknowledged that he did not study in the same school with Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and did not meet with him before the Liberation War. He stated that he doesn’t know whether from 1966 to 1971 Salauddin was a student of Notredame College and Dhaka University. He denied that from April to August 1971 Salauddin took his graduation degree from Punjab University.

Junu claimed that he previously told the people of his own village (Vujpur) about this incident. He acknowledged that in 1979 Salauddin was elected as a MP (Member of Parliament). He said that doesn’t know whether anyone received more than 1000 votes against him from Vujpur. He said he doesn’t know who the the present MP of Fatikchori is and acknowledged that Salauddin may be the present MP. He said denied that he was providing false testimony just to make government happy and keep his post safe as a regular singer of Bangladesh Betar.

Thereafter, Defense counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena highlighted contradictions in Junu’s testimony before the Tribunal. Junu however claimed that he provided the same statements to the Investigating Officer. He stated that it is not true that Nizam and Sirazul Islam were captured while he was in Aziznagar. Junu said he resides in Chittagong and he has an address there and in 1971 he was in the Golap Shing Lane but admitted that he can’t remember the holding number. He said that it is not true Professor Jogesh Shen, Ataur Rahman Kaiser, Mrs Neli Shengupta went to ‘Good’s Heel’ to take shelter. He denied that he gave false statements at the demand of the Prosecution.

The Tribunal then adjourned for the day.